26 Turkish soldiers killed in Kurdish attacks

The Turkish military retaliated with air strikes and by sending in troops into neighbouring Iraq.

Last Updated: Oct 19, 2011, 23:16 PM IST

Istanbul: Kurdish rebels killed 26 soldiers
on Wednesday in simultaneous attacks in southeast Turkey, marking one
of the deadliest days for the army in the 27-year battle
against the separatists.

The Turkish military retaliated with air strikes and by
sending in troops into neighbouring Iraq where the rebels are
based while the prime minister cancelled a foreign trip.

The attacks by Kurdistan Workers` Party (PKK) rebels on
the Turkish troops occurred in eight locations in Cukurca and
Yuksekova in Hakkari province near the Iraqi border overnight,
local security sources said.

The toll is the heaviest for the army since 1993, when the
PKK killed 33 unarmed soldiers in Bingol province, in
southeast Turkey. It could rise as at least one of the injured
soldiers sustained life-threatening wounds, local health
officials said.

Sources on both sides of the conflict confirmed that
Turkey had responded to the attacks on the ground and in the
air. Several hundred Turkish soldiers have crossed into
northern Iraq to hunt down PKK rebels, Kurdish news agency
Firatnews said.

"Turkish soldiers from two separate points in Cukurca town
crossed into south Kurdistan to follow (rebels)," said Firat
news agency, which is known as a mouthpiece of the PKK.

"Turkish ground forces are attempting to cross the Iraqi
border at Jeli, in the Hakkari region" of southeast Turkey,
Dozdar Hammo, a PKK spokesman said.

Turkish army commandos had been flown in by helicopter to
the Iraqi side of the border, local security sources said.

Turkish air force planes also bombed Kurdish rebel bases.

PTI